Thursday, 12 April 2018

Sluggish Start to Spring 2018

It is a cold start to spring in eastern Newfoundland.  Warm temperatures have been a fleeting few hours usually accompanied by rain and winds that could tear the binoculars off your neck. Overall birds are arriving close to schedule. We did have an exceptional influx of Great Egrets and a few other southern herons after one particular storm on 22 March. Most of these birds were out of reach for Avalon birders unfortunately. Who knows what we missed by not scouring the Burin Peninsula right after the event.  There was a little trickle over to the Avalon to help brighten the early spring mood. So far the weather systems are out of character for the coveted prolonged NE air flow from Iceland that we need for collecting our share of the Golden Plovers and other birds migrating from Europe to Iceland.  But it only takes one well placed storm with enough strength to unload some European flavour on the Newfoundland spring. Think RDF.

Here are some bird photos from the this month on the Avalon Peninsula.

This Great Egret at Biscay Bay on 8 April had already been living for two weeks on the abundant Newfoundland stickleback.

This Great Blue Heron at St. Mary's on 8 April was also catching sticklebacks. On the Avalon Peninsula the Great Blue Heron and Great Egret are of equal rarity status

The St. Vincent's Pacific Loon present for its fifth winter was elusive this year. Loons and alcids were in low numbers all winter at the location.  These snaps on 8 April were long distance crops between wave troughs.  That chin strap is exceedingly obvious on in the photos. The smooth snaky neck paler than the back (middle two photos) is the best thing to look for when trying to find the bird among the distant Common Loons. 

The arrival of the Newfoundland hornless Horned Lark in early April never fails to stir the feelings of spring. This one was part of a group four at Trepassey on 8 April.

Snow Bunting migration was stalled by bad weather in Labrador which resulted in a delivery of small flocks throughout southern Newfoundland.  A flock of 30 feeding on bird seed at the Cape Spear parking lot provided good opportunities to photograph this flighty species. 

This Clay-coloured Sparrow looks a little rattled after a long winter at a Trepassey bird feeder, here on 8 April.  It acted healthy and energetic.  This bird represents Newfoundland birders who are worn and frazzled after a long winter but still have the energy to enjoy what spring is going to bring us. We are ready for the revitalization. 

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